Honda CR-V Crossover full 9 point review
Occupants are well isolated from tyre and suspension noise, and although wind noise builds up around the chunky door mirrors, it’s never loud enough to get on your nerves. The diesel engines might, though, because they sound rather gruff when worked hard. The petrol is also vocal at high revs. Front-wheel-drive versions have a sweeter manual gearshift than four-wheel-drive cars, and while the nine-speed automatic gearbox swaps gears smoothly, the five-speed auto gives rather clunky shifts.
Both 1.6-litre diesel engines are muscular enough, although the higher-powered version is the sweet spot in terms of performance. There’s also a 2.0-litre petrol, which is willing if not as gutsy as the diesels. Every engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but a five-speed automatic is available on the petrol and a nine-speeder on the pokier diesel. The petrol’s gearbox feels slow and dated compared with the latest offerings in rivals, but the diesel’s is far more responsive.
Ride & Handling
The CR-V’s suspension is good at soaking up big bumps, so the ride is generally comfortable. However, the car does shimmy around on patched-up surfaces at all speeds. The handling is capable enough and every version has plenty of grip, but the body leans a fair bit in bends. The steering is also slow and rather vague.
Buying & Owning
The CR-V holds its value well, but most models are fairly expensive to buy compared with rivals. The diesel versions are far cheaper to run than the petrols, and stack up well against other SUVs in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. There’s little penalty in running costs for choosing the automatic diesel over the manual, too. By comparison, the petrols aren’t particularly competitive in terms of economy and emissions.
Quality & Reliability
Honda's reliability record is generally excellent and the CR-V consistently performs well in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey. The perceived quality in the cabin – the feel of the plastics and materials – leaves a little to be desired, but the car still comes across as well put together.
Safety & Security
All CR-Vs come with front, side and curtain airbags, plus a stability control system that not only counteracts mid-corner slides, but also snaking if you’re towing a caravan or horsebox. Automatic city emergency braking is fitted to every version, too, while optional kit includes adaptive cruise control and a system that warns you if the car begins to wander from its lane on the motorway. The CR-V was awarded the full five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test. An alarm helps to fend off thieves.
Behind The Wheel
A good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment makes it pretty easy to get comfortable. The interior has quite a few buttons to negotiate, and the markings on them could be clearer, but the infotainment system is pretty easy to find your way around. Over-the-shoulder visibility is severely hampered by the thick rear pillars, but the forward view is excellent.
Space & Practicality
The CR-V's flat rear floor and generous head- and legroom make it excellent family transport, while access to every seat is good. The boot offers a huge 589 litres of space with the 60/40 split rear seats in place. Simply pull a lever mounted on either side of the boot and the rear seats flip down in true ‘hey-presto’ fashion, freeing up a mammoth 1648 litres of room.
Entry-level S trim is quite poorly equipped, so we’d avoid it. We’d go for an SE version, which comes with front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. SR trim is also a good choice; it adds heated part-leather seats and xenon headlights. Top-spec EX models are expensive but extremely well equipped; they get full-leather seats, a panoramic glass roof and a powered tailgate. Sat-nav is available on virtually every version.